Examining the First Night of Free Agency: John Wall “Makes It Clear” He Wants to Be Traded
So an evening that came with a lot of great acquisitions for the Wizards on the first night of free agency got side tracked last night after Shams Charania reported that John Wall has made it clear to the Washington organization that he wants to be traded:
Wall was reportedly “shocked” to find out that the Wizards were planning to build around Bradley Beal for the immediate future after rumors of the front office having discussions with the Rockets for a John Wall-Russell Westbrook trade. The fact that this disagreement with the franchise seems to have sprung up somewhat recently I hope that tensions are just high and that they will mull over soon but this spat with the organization seems to have hurt Wall personally. As Westbrook trade talks have stalled it is difficult to see where else the Wizards might move the 5x point guard with the massive contract he has. I would love to do a Wall-Westbrook trade straight up as our first option but I also just don’t believe that it would be a good trade on the side of the Rockets given Wall’s contract and injury concern coming off an achilles tear that kept him out all of last season. I truly believe the best spot for Wall is in DC with a team that already has restocked on talent for potential playoff runs in the future.
We’ll continue to monitor the John Wall trade saga but for now let’s dive into the first night of Washington Wizards free agency, an evening that saw a lot of exciting moves for the franchise and addressed a lot of key needs the team had heading into the offseason.
Wizards Re-Sign Davis Bertans to a 5 Year, $80 Million Deal
The Latvian Laser is officially on lockdown. The Wizards agreed to a five year, $80 million contract with the power forward Friday night who made 3.8 three pointers per game last season coming off the bench, the fourth most three pointers made per game in the NBA.
In my previous article previewing the offseason, I stated that the Wizards’ top priority should be retaining Bertans to a long term deal. This was an excellent move from Tommy Sheppard as it gives the Wizards an excellent offensive weapon who can play off the bench or switch starts with second year power forward Rui Hachimura.
Now Bertans is under contract for the duration of Wall and Beal’s potential tenure here in Washington, as well as two years after.
Wizards Sign Anthony Gill to Two Way Deal
The Wizards continued to add depth to the power forward position by signing former Virginia Cavalier Anthony Gill to a two way contract. After going undrafted in 2016, Gill has played with MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and BC Khimki in Germany, posting 10.5 ppg and 4.3 rpg over three seasons with Khimiki.
Gill has more of a post and defensive presence than Bertans, but has also developed his three point game in his years overseas, shooting 44% from behind the arc last season after going 2-3 from deep his entire career at UVA. Sheppard has shown to have a real interest in international talent during his tenure as President of Basketball Operations, drafting Japanese born Rui Hachimura last offseason and Deni Avdija from Israel this past Wednesday. I think it’s a great strategy that brings in a bigger pool of talent, however am I a little wary of the Wizards and their history with international players (ok, mostly just Jan Vesely).
Wizards Agree to Terms With Robin Lopez
The final move of the night came with Washington agreeing to terms with 32 year old center Robin Lopez, who played 66 games with the Bucks last season where he had per 36 minute averages of 13.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg and 1.7 bpg. This comes as a great move not only as it adds depth to our big men but also adds a much needed veteran presence for Washington’s young core of centers in Thomas Bryant, Moritz Wagner and Anzejs Pasecniks, the latter of whom is the oldest at 24 years old. Lopez brings 12 years of NBA experience with 6 different teams in multiple systems and will be able to teach our next generation front court how to succeed in this league. This is a signing whose presence will be felt more in veteran leadership than it will be the numbers he puts out on the basketball court, and that is exactly what the Wizards need from him.